WHAT COVENANT DOES MODERN ISRAEL HAVE WITH GOD?

The promise made to Abraham was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3). God’s covenant with Abraham was with Abraham and his seed which is Christ. This covenant was given to Isaac and Jacob also. Interestingly neither Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob ever inherited the physical land of Israel (Acts 7:5; Hebrews 11:8-13).

The land promise was for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and was fulfilled under the ministry of Joshua (Joshua 14:1; Psalm 105:44). God’s covenant with Israel regarding the ongoing inheritance in the land was dependent on observance of the law covenant given through Moses (Deuteronomy 27-30; Psalm 105:44-45).

The law covenant was accompanied with a curse which for the nation as a whole would result in banishment (or disinheritance) from the land (Deuteronomy 27-30; Daniel 9:11). One cannot separate the land promises to Abraham from the law covenant and remain true to the narrative. They are inseparable.

Furthermore, Israel’s land inheritance coincided with physical circumcision which was the “sign” of the covenant. All who were uncircumcised were to be cut off (Genesis 17:7-14).

Paul tells us that physical circumcision has been made of no effect and the law abolished. In Christ it is circumcision of the heart (spiritual circumcision) that matters and in Christ all families of the earth become the children of Abraham.

God’s promise to the Messiah was; “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:8).

The land promises given to Abraham were conditional, being dependent on physical circumcision and obedience to the law. Israel in the flesh failed to keep the law and inherited the curse. Jesus the Messiah, redeemed the people of Israel from the curse of the Law, and in doing so the promise expanded beyond the physical borders of Israel to all nations for the blessing of Abraham was now to come on the Gentiles (Galatians 3:13-14).

The uttermost parts of the earth has become the possession of the children of Abraham and in Christ, Abraham has now become the heir of the world (Romans 4:13).

The fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel in the Messiah did not leave them as a physical nation in the land of Israel. The fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel made them a spiritual nation of people in all nations throughout the whole world, beginning in Jerusalem (Acts 1:6-8; 2:1-11).

Now, there is a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13). This new covenant has replaced the former which defined Israel as a physical nation and of which the land of Canaan was the inheritance. In this new covenant the Gentiles from all nations are grafted in with believing Jews as the true Israel of God, and made fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of God’s promise in Christ by the gospel (Romans 11: Ephesians 2:11 -3:6).

 

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IS THE LAND INHERITANCE STILL RELEVANT TODAY?

The land of Canaan is said to be an inheritance for the decedents of Abraham FOREVER (Genesis 13:15; 17:8).

Does this then mean that the promise of the land inheritance has relevance today? If we were to take Genesis 13:15 and Genesis 17:8 at face value without considering the balance of scripture, then we would certainly have to come to a conclusive yes.

Therefore, we need to ask, “does the balance of scripture support our interpretation of the land inheritance?”

To begin, let’s consider the use of the word forever elsewhere in the Old Testament. The same Hebrew word translated as “forever” in Genesis 13:15 is translated as “everlasting” in Genesis 17:8 mentioned above (see also Genesis 48:4; Exodus 32:13).

That’s certainly a good start if we are going to build a case that the land inheritance is still relevant.

However, we immediately have our first hurdle before we ever get out of Genesis 17. In verses 10-14, we read that physical circumcision is an EVERLASTING covenant and that the land inheritance coincides with circumcision. The “uncircumcised” have no share in the covenant through which the land was to be inherited.

This immediately becomes problematic in building a defense for the “land inheritance” having relevance today because in the New Testament the apostle Paul tells us that circumcision in the flesh no longer has any value. According to Paul, it is the circumcision of the heart (in the Spirit) which matters.

As we continue through the scriptures we find that the feast of Passover and unleavened bread are said to be an ORDINANCE FOREVER (Exodus 12:14, 17, 24) and the Sabbath was to be a covenant FOREVER (Exodus 31:16-17).

Yet the New Testament tells us that these were only shadows of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17) and that Christ Himself is our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7).

The ministry of the Levitical priesthood (Aaron and his descendants) within the tabernacle is said to be a statute FOREVER (Exodus 27:21, Exodus 28:43, Exodus 30:21, Leviticus 24:1-3) and an ordinance FOREVER (Numbers 18:8). The wearing of the priestly garments by the sons of Aaron was also referred to as a PERPETUAL (FOREVER) statue. The ceremonial washing of the hands of the priests who served in the tabernacle was to be a statue FOREVER (Exodus 30:21).

Yet according to the New Testament this priesthood has been abolished and has given way to one that is greater and more glorious, and that is the Priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Law of Moses also declares that the Levites were to be servants to the priests and this was to be a statute FOREVER (Numbers 18:23).

The law of the meat offering’s portion for the sons of Aaron was also to be a statute FOREVER (Leviticus 6:14-19).

The daily meat offerings offered by Aaron and his descendants was to be a statute FOREVER (Leviticus 6:20).

The commandment for Aaron and his sons not to drink wine nor strong drink in the tabernacle was to be a statute FOREVER (Leviticus 10:9).

The heave and wave offerings belonging to the Levitical priests and their families was a statue FOREVER (Exodus 29:28; Leviticus 10:15: Numbers 18:19).

Like the Passover, the Day of Atonement was also to be a statue FOREVER (Leviticus 16:29, 34, Leviticus 23:31). Yet according to the New Testament, those things which were done under the Law on the Day of Atonement served as a foreshadowing of Christ (Hebrews 10:1-4) and have now been taken away because Christ has become the High Priest of a greater and a perfect tabernacle.

With regards to sacrifices for sin, the Law of Moses also says that the sin offering of the red heifer was to be a statute FOREVER (Numbers 19:9-11).

Yet Hebrews 9:13-14 says, “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

As we can see the use of the language FOREVER as it applied to the Old Testament promises, statues, and ordinances don’t mean “for all eternity” without any change as they originally were.

In studying the scriptures, we should consider the qualifying clause “throughout your generations” and other similar clauses. These should be taken into account when considering those things which were said to be FOREVER.

For instance, Genesis 17 says the covenant of circumcision and the land inheritance is FOREVER in view of the THOSE GENERATIONS.

In Exodus 12:14 the scripture says; “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance FOREVER (see also verses 17 and 42).

The daily offering of the burnt offering was to be THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS (Exodus 29:42). The yearly consecration of the altar of Incense by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement was to be THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS (Leviticus 30:10).

These references (above) regarding THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS are just a few examples of the many times this qualifying clause and others similar to it are mentioned in view of the FOREVERS in the Old Testament.

The Old Covenant was a covenant for God’s people in the flesh and was binding THROUGHOUT THEIR GENERATIONS, wherein the revelation of Christ was hidden in a mystery (Colossians 1:26).The forevers were “types” and “foreshadowings” of Christ.

God has saved us according to his mercy by the washing of REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3;5) and that which was “in the flesh” has now given way to that which is “in the Spirit.”

The forevers of the physical covenant has given way and been translated to FOREVER in Christ!

The forever ordinances of things like Passover continues, but now it’s in Christ and not in the outward offering of animals. The same holds true for the land inheritance, the Sabbaths and all other FOREVERS of the first covenant. True inheritance and rest are in Christ!

He is our Passover, He is our Sabbath, He is our promised land!


ADDITIONAL NOTES

  1. Israel’s right to the land, according to scripture, was dependent on their covenant relationship with God. Physical Israel has no covenant with God today because of their rejection of Jesus. Only believing Jews (those who believe in Jesus Christ) have a covenant with God. Physical Israel is a secular nation like all other nations. Covenant membership is found only in Jesus Christ. The only way that secular Israel could be considered God’s people is for there to be two covenants and two groups of people as the people of God. Dual Covenant theology is heresy.
  2. Israel’s right to the land was not exclusive to the physical descendants of Jacob. Throughout Israel’s history, Gentiles were joined to them and inherited full rights as citizens which included land inheritance (see Ester 8:17, Isaiah 56:3-7, Psalm 87:4-6, Ezekiel 47:21-23).
  3. When Israel was given the land it was divided among their tribes, which included Gentiles who had joined them. (See the book of Joshua and Ezekiel 47:21-23).
  4. The Levites were given no land inheritance.
  5. God never meant for Israeli’s only to have access to the land, Israel was required by God to treat those living among them justly and not to oppress them (Leviticus 19:33-34; Jeremiah 7:5-7; Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:10; Exodus 22:21-24; Exodus 23:9; Deuteronomy 23: 7-8; Deuteronomy 10:19).
  6. Supporting Israel in everything is unscriptural. For example, God was angry with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, for making an alliance with Ahab, the King of Israel (See 2 Chronicles 18:1 – 19:2). Also the Apostle Paul tells us that the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and continue to hinder the message of the Gospel are under the wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

RECONCILIATION RATHER THAN APPEASEMENT

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (John 8:10-11).

Why didn’t Jesus punish this woman?

Why didn’t Jesus condemn someone for this woman’s sin?

How could Jesus truly forgive this woman without first satisfying His wrath against her sin?

A fundamental problem with the “theory” of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (remember it’s a theory) is that its definition of the character of God is NOT the character of God which was revealed in Christ.

The concept which says, “God had to first satisfy His wrath before he could forgive sin because justice demands punishment for sin is a very unbiblical view of God.

Yet, it is not uncommon to hear this sort of theology from those who hold to the theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement – a theology which states that Jesus was sent to the cross to satisfy God’s wrath by dying as a substitute under divine justice.  Those who embrace this theology hold to the view that since God is Holy and Just, His righteousness demands that the sin of the sinner be punished before God can truly forgive the sinner.

However, it is “unrepentant sin” that will be judged, not forgiven sin.

According to the Bible, true justice – God’s justice – delights in showing mercy and forgiveness. Consider the following verses:

As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11).

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:7).

Those who teach according to the theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement often over look important passages in the Bible; passages such as Stephen’s statement to the religious leaders of Israel, saying they had been the betrayers and murderers of Jesus (Acts 7:52).

If the crucifixion of Jesus was indeed a murder, then how was God’s Justice satisfied?

According to the prophet Isaiah, Jesus was deprived of justice from the time of His arrest until He died on the cross. Only in the resurrection was God’s true justice demonstrated.

Those who killed Jesus did so because they hated Him without a cause (John 15:24-25) and when they condemned Him they were gathered against the Lord (God in Heaven) and against His Christ (Acts 4:26-27).

Acts 4:26-27 (mentioned above)is taken from Psalm 2. According to Psalm 2, it is those who were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ who are under the wrath of God. The words of the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 agree with this.

It wasn’t the wrath of God which was levied against Jesus in His death, it was the wrath of sinful men as stated in Psalm 2 and Acts 4:

“Why did the heathen RAGE, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.”

Christ was vindicated in His resurrection when God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him at His own right hand. This is why the apostles (throughout the book of Acts) lay blame for the death of Jesus to the people, yet the resurrection they attribute to God in opposition to what the people had done in condemning Him and crucifying him.

In 1 Peter 2, the apostle Peter (who learned firsthand from Jesus what had happened at the cross) reveals that Jesus “suffered wrongfully.” The apostle Peter goes on to tell us that Jesus committed Himself to the ONE who JUDGES RIGHTEOUSLY (a reference to God the righteous Judge). Peter makes these statements in view of the cross saying “Jesus bore our sins in His body.”

For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God ENDURE GRIEF, SUFFERING WRONGFULLY. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is ACCEPTABLE with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because CHRIST SUFFERED FOR US, leaving us AN EXAMPLE, that ye should FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he SUFFERED, he threatened not; but COMMITTED HIMSELF TO HIM THAT JUDGETH RIGHTEOUSLY: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed (1 Peter 2:19-24).

Notice that the apostle Peter actually says that Jesus is our example of how we are to endure when we suffer wrongfully. According to Peter, Jesus bore our sins as one who suffered wrongly and Jesus committed himself to the ONE who JUDGES RIGHTEOUSLY.

To say that Jesus suffered under God’s righteous wrath would be contrary to the words of the apostle Peter here.

According to the Bible, at the cross God demonstrated his love towards sinners and not his displeasure. At the cross it was God’s mercy and not his wrath that was on display.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (Romans 5:6-11).

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another ( 1 John 4:9-11, see also verses 12-21).

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16).

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:4-8).

The Amplified Bible translates Ephesians 2:4 says, “But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us…”

God satisfied His love, not His wrath, when Christ died for our sins.

God did not send his Son to change himself. God sent his son to change us by demonstrating His love, mercy, and grace through Jesus Christ. The Bible never says that God was reconciled to sinners but that sinners were reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5: 19 says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…”

When God sent Jesus to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, Jesus taught them that God was their Father. We know this because we have many examples of Christ teaching the people to trust their Father in Heaven. God was their Father via covenant because they were the children of Abraham.

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we never read of Jesus presenting the gospel to the common people in a “Penal Substitutionary” manner. Jesus did not preach to them that they were sinners and their sins had offended God or that God was too holy to be approached by them.

Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. He was God with and among the people. In the person of Jesus Christ, God himself had come to man – sinful man!

Now please don’t misunderstand this, the common people certainly were sinners and in were need of forgiveness and reconciliation. They were as sheep that had gone astray and they needed God’s mercy. The gospel message which Jesus brought to them was not the message of an offended God who needed to satisfy his wrath. It was the message of a Fathering God who desired their forgiveness, healing, and redemption.

God sent Jesus to save and deliver all who would trust in Him. This is why Peter says that the word which God sent to the children of Israel came through Jesus Christ as he preached peace to them (See Acts 10:36). Jesus’ message was full of the hope of salvation. It was the message of peace with God and was full of the mercy, compassion, and forgiveness that the people needed.

On the contrary however, it was the religious leaders who were oppressing the people with the Law rather than liberating them who were the ones with whom God was dissatisfied.

The spiritual leadership in Israel had gone so far away from the heart of God and instead of ministering compassionately to relieve the oppress and doing justly they used the Law of Moses to their own advantage to burden God’s heritage and this was not pleasing to God.

When Jesus arrived on the scene, he did not come burdening the people. Instead, He brought the Kingdom message of redemption and set many free from oppression. This of course infuriated the hard hearted Jewish leaders. Christ was everything they were not and they hated him because they hated the true God who had sent him.

Jesus had come to do the will of His Father and to finish His work. Jesus did exactly those things which He saw His Father do. Those who believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, were made partakers of His kingdom. Those who rejected Him and refused to repent were condemned.

It is very important to understand that reconciliation and forgiveness is never the result of God satisfying his wrath. Reconciliation and forgiveness is the result of God’s mercy and when God demonstrates his mercy He turns away from his wrath. Psalms 85:1-4 says the following:

Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.

Notice that the scripture reference above ends by saying “TURN US, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.” It is when “we turn” to the lord in repentance that God’s anger and displeasure are turned away.

The theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement sets forth a very un-biblical view of the wrath of God. The wrath of God is a Bible truth and one that we should take very seriously but one we must also understand correctly.

The Bible reveals that there are specific things which cause the wrath of God to come and the Bible reveals that there are specific things which cause the wrath of God to be turned away.

Those things which cause the wrath of God to come are scripturally attributed to actions such as those expressed by the ones who opposed Christ and put him to death. Yet those things which turn away the wrath of God can be seen in Christ and those who trust in Him for forgiveness.

Throughout the scriptures, the wrath of God comes because of such things as unbelief, rebellion, loving sin, rejecting the truth, worshipping false gods, and forgetting God. On the other hand, the wrath of God is turned away by things such as obedience, intercession, atonement, zeal for righteousness, the fear of the Lord, and repentance.


BIBLICAL REASONS THE WRATH OF GOD COMES

  • UNBELIEF (John 3:36; Hebrews 3:7-19; Deuteronomy 9-11; Psalm 78:17-33).
  • REBELLION (Hebrews 3:7-19; Romans 1:18-32; 2:5,8; Leviticus 10; Numbers 11:32-34; Deuteronomy 9-11; Psalm 78:17-33; Joshua 22:20; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; 1 Samuel 28:18; Kings 22:13-17).
  • LOVING SIN (John 3:17-21; Romans 1:18-32; 2 Peter 2:15; Numbers 11:32-34; Psalm 78:17-33; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6).
  • REJECTING THE TRUTH (Romans 1:18-32; 2:5, 8; Deuteronomy 10; Numbers 11:32-34; Psalm 78:17-33).
  • WORSHIPPING FALSE GODS (Romans 1:18-32; Deuteronomy 29; Numbers 11:32-34; Psalm 78:17-33; Kings 22:13-17; Kings 23:1-27).
  • FORGETTING GOD (Deuteronomy 6:10-15; 8:10-20; Romans 1:18-32).

BIBLICAL REASONS THE WRATH OF GOD IS TURNED AWAY

  • OBEDIENCE (Deuteronomy 10-11).
  • INTERCESSION (Isaiah 53, Exodus 32:7-14, Numbers 21:5-9; John 3:14-17; Deuteronomy 9).
  • ATONEMENT (Romans 3:25; 5:6-11; Numbers 16:46; Numbers 18:1-5; Numbers 25:11).
  • ZEAL FOR GOD (Numbers 25).
  • THE FEAR OF THE LORD (Jeremiah 32:40).
  • REPENTANCE (Acts 13:39-41; Kings 22:18-20; Kings 23:1-27).

THE LANGUAGE OF SCRIPTURE

Simply, there is no – out in the open – language in the New Testament that clearly tells us that God poured out His wrath on Jesus. That is the image that those who condemned Jesus desired to portray.

There is no place in the New Testament where any of the writers explicitly says: “God poured out His wrath on Jesus,” or “God satisfied His anger when Jesus died on the cross.” It simply isn’t there. Yet, there is an abundance of scripture in the New Testament which reveals – out in the open – that God’s disposition in giving His Son was love, mercy, grace, and kindness.

In Jesus we have exactly what we needed, for in him God has reveled His love, and mercy, and grace towards us and will continue to reveal it to us.

THE SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH

In Matthew 12 the scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus and tempted him. They asked him to give them a sign to prove that he is the Messiah. Jesus responded by saying the following:

An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (Matthew 12:39-41)

The words “the sign of Jonah the prophet” can be found in Matthew 12:38-41, Matthew 16:1-4 and in Luke 11:29-32 and is an expression employed by Jesus to describe his death and resurrection, which was “the sign” to that generation that he indeed is the Messiah.

The scriptures foretold that the Messiah would be rejected by his generation and resurrected after suffering at their hands.

In Matthew 12:38-41, Jesus says that Nineveh repented in response to the preaching by Jonah after Jonah had spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale. According to Jesus, the people of Nineveh are going to rise up in the day of Judgment and condemn those who rejected Jesus during his generation because they would not repent.

For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be TO THIS GENERATION (LUKE 11:30).

According to Jesus, the only sign God was giving to the unbelieving Jews was His death and resurrection. If they refused to repent upon hearing the gospel preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, they would not be saved.

After His resurrection, Jesus enabled the apostles as well as other believers to give testimony to His resurrection through the power of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the book of Acts, those who preached the gospel suffered much persecution from the religious Jews who wanted to stop the work the Holy Spirit from giving testimony and witness to Jesus’ resurrection.

The hatred for Jesus by the wicked leaders of the Jewish people and the religious Jews who refused to repent, is the context in Matthew 12 and the context of the unpardonable sin which is mentioned in verse 31. When Jesus speaks of the sin against the Holy Spirit he is referring to the sin committed by the religious Jewish leaders’ who rejected Christ as Messiah.

In his presence they called him Master (v.38) but behind his back they called him the instrument of Beelzebub because they wanted to destroy him (v.14). However, Jesus knew how truly wicked they were and called them  “a generation of vipers” (v.34).

They did not have it in them to speak well of him because their hearts were evil and unrepentant. They resisted the Holy Spirit and spoke against him by their speaking against His work through the Son of God.

When Jesus made the statement about the unpardonable sin it was to the hard hearted unrepentant religious Jews who refused to repent. They resisted the Holy Spirit in Christ and despised the Spirit of grace working through him; and they persecuted his followers (their Jewish brethren) in the Book of Acts.

It is within this context that Jesus says, there is no forgiveness for them. They rejected the one whom God sent and anointed. This is not a sin that can be committed in ignorance, or accidentally. It refers to the deliberate rejection from their hearts of Jesus whom the Holy Spirit had anointed. They so hated Jesus that they spoke evil against the work of the Holy Spirit in and through Jesus. They had no fear of God in them.

This happened just as Isaiah the prophet had predicted.

Go, and tell this people, hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed  (Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:13-15;Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:26-27; Romans 11:8; 2 Corinthians 3:14-15).

Jesus said to them: “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, we see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:41).

This is what happened to the leaders of Israel who rejected Jesus and put him to death. They closed their ears, they shut their eyes, and they hardened their own hearts and refused to believe on the one whom God had sent.

Jesus warned them that the queen of the south would rise up in the judgment against them and condemn them because “she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the Wisdom of Solomon; and He who is greater than Solomon was in their midst.”

CHRIST FORESHADOWED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICES

He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Genesis 3:21; Revelation 13:8).

He is the more excellent sacrifice offered by Abel (Genesis 4:1-10; Hebrews 11:4).

He is the sweet smelling savor offered by Noah: providing mercy, favor and covenant (Genesis 8:20-22: 9:1, 8-17).

He is Abraham’s burnt offering, which the Lord provided (Genesis 22:1-13).

He is the Passover, He delivered the children of Israel from the bondage and slavery of sin (Ex 12; Numbers 9:1-14; 2 Chronicles 30:1; 1 Corinthians 5:7).

He is the burnt offering; wholly consecrated for to the Lord for us (Leviticus 1).

He is the meat offering; holy and perfect and without sin (Leviticus 2).

He is the peace offering; the free gift of grace to be received with thanksgiving (Leviticus 3; Colossians 1:20-22).

He is the sin offering; He bore the sins of the world (Leviticus 4; 1Corinthians 5:21).

He is the trespass offering: He paid the price for all the trespasses of the child of God (Leviticus 5&6; 1 John 1:7-9).

He is the continual burnt offering: our once for all sacrifice, eternal and everlasting (Exodus 29:38-42; Leviticus 6:9-13).

He is the fire that must never go out: burning continually upon the upon the coals of our heart (Leviticus 6).

He is the consecration ram: His blood is applied to the priest for hearing, service, and fellowship (Exodus 29; Leviticus 8).

He is the drink offering who poured out His life for us all (Exodus 29; Isa 53:12; Ps 22:14).

He is the scapegoat who took our sins away (Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9:26; Isaiah 53:6).

He is the cleanser of the Levites in purifying us for service (Numbers 8).

He is the perpetual truth in the daily ministrations: the continual burnt offering ever rising to the Father, the lamp in the tabernacle always giving light, and the incense ever rising in the prayers of those who seek God with the whole heart (Hebrews 10:11; Exodus 29:38-42; Ex 30:7-9).

He is the cleanser of the leper: He restores the outcast to fellowship (Leviticus 14-15).

He is salvation to the Gentiles: Rahab’s true token (Joshua 2:12-21).

He is the glorious sound of the ram’s horn: This was heard before the shout that knocked down flat the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6).

He is the burnt offering offered by Gideon: Gideon received insight from the Lord (Judges 6).

He is the peace offering: Hanna’s vow was answered (1 Samuel 1-2).

He the burnt offering offered by Samuel: God thundered upon the Philistines (1 Samuel 7).

He is the ram that was offered: out of His horns Samuel poured the anointing oil upon David to be King (1 Samuel 16:1-13).

He is the burnt offering offered by David, which atoned for sin and stopped the plague (2 Samuel 24:18-25; 1 Chronicles 21-22; 1 Chronicles 21:26).

He is Solomon’s burnt offering by which Solomon sought God and asked for wisdom which truly is the principle thing (2 Chronicles 1:1-12).

He is the offering at the dedication of the tabernacle and the temple causing the house to be filled with the Glory of God (Leviticus 9:22-24; 1.Kings 8:62-64; 2 Chronicles 7:1-2).

He is Elijah’s burnt offering triumphing over all our enemies (1Kings 18:21-46).

He is Jehoshaphat’s meat offering: the one who sanctifies (2 Kings 2:30).

He is Job’s burnt offering: He turns captivity through intercession (Job 42:7-17).

He is Jonah’s thanksgiving (peace) offering: Jonah gave thanks by faith from the belly of the whale (Jonah 2; Ho 14:2; 1 Kings 8:38-39; Mt 12:40-41; Ps 16:9-11; Acts 2:25-28).

He is the peace offering, by whom we give thanks as in the case of Hezekiah ((Ps 103:1-5; Ps 116:12-19; 2 Chronicles 32:24-26).

JESUS GLORIFIED THE FATHER IN HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS

When Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, He fulfilled the scripture which says; “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt’” (Matthew 12:5 TNLT).

The Pharisees then declared; “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!” (John 12:19 TNLT).

Jesus was in complete control for the Father had placed all authority into His hands. The gospel of John tells us the following:

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; JESUS KNOWING THAT THE FATHER HAD GIVEN ALL THINGS INTO HIS HANDS, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself (John 13:1-4).

Instead of making himself King for his own glory, He chose to lay down his life for the Glory of God by giving us an example to follow. He did not exalt himself to be King but instead surrendered his life to the will of his Father to be the offering for our sins. He gave his life as a ransom for many and by giving His life for us He glorified God (John 13:31-32). He is the Servant-King.

The cross of Jesus Christ is not about the wrath of God being diverted from sinners and being taken out on His Son. The cross of Christ is about the sacrifice of the Son of God bearing witness to the truth in sacrificial love as He gave His life as an offering for our sins.

Jesus laid down His life so that the world would know that He loves the Father (John 14:29-31). He glorified God by giving His life as a ransom for our sins (John 13:31-32). The gospel repeatedly describes his death as His “departure” and His “going to the Father” (John 13:1, 3; 16:5-7, 10, and 28). He described the laying down of His life as that of a corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying which afterwards brings forth a great harvest.

Jesus never failed to show the world who the Father really is. He did this in everything He said and did including his death (John 13:32). All the works which Jesus did, He did in the name of His Father (John 10:25) and just prior to lying down His life He had prayed, “Father, glorify thy name.” In response to this prayer the Father answered: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28). By this, the Father was speaking of the works He had already done through His Son and the work He was about to accomplish through his death and resurrection.

Jesus had said to those Jews who wanted to kill him from the beginning, “when you have lifted up the Son of Man (on the cross) you will know that I AM HE” (John 8:28-29). His death and resurrection was the final and greatest statement that He is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God. Everything Jesus did, He had learned from the Father and when He laid down his life, He gave it as the good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep; this also He had learned from his Father!

Jesus laid down his life because of his love for us (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16) and death could not hold him because He is the resurrection and the life (John 11). He gave His life to redeem us with His precious blood and He conquered death in His resurrection.

Jesus laid down his life for His friends (John 15:13).

Jesus is our example of how we should lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16).

Jesus laid down his life for the sheep because He knew the Father (John 10:11, 15, 17-18) and was taught so by the Father (John 10:17-18; 13:1-3; 14:29-31). He did only what he saw His Father do (John 5:19). This commandment – to lay down His life and take it up again – He received from the Father (John 10:18).

In John 10:17 Jesus says, Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. In his death for you, Jesus did what He had learned from the Father, He gave Himself in true sacrificial love!

Who his own self BORE OUR SINS IN HIS OWN BODY on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were AS SHEEP GOING ASTRAY; but are now returned unto THE SHEPHERD and Bishop of your souls (1 Peter 2; 24-25).

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep (John 10:11).

YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF GOD

Your body is not merely as chunk of meat which will be permanently discarded when you die. If you are born again, your body is the temple of God and will be raised again, like Jesus was raised. Those who claim that there is no bodily resurrection are wrong!

Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy THIS TEMPLE, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of THE TEMPLE OF HIS BODY. When therefore he was RISEN FROM THE DEAD, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said (John 2:18-22).

NOTATION: Jesus referred to HIS BODY as the temple. Jesus is the FOUNDATION STONE upon which the TEMPLE OF God is built. Believers in Christ are God’s temple and are said to be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being THE CHIEF CORNER STONE; In whom ALL THE BUILDING fitly framed together groweth unto an HOLY TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom ye also are BUILT TOGETHER for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22).

Jesus is the stone the builders rejected and those who follow Jesus are the LIVING STONES of a spiritual house, and a holy priesthood offering up acceptable sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5).

Know ye not that ye are THE TEMPLE OF GOD, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile THE TEMPLE OF GOD, him shall God destroy; for THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY, WHICH TEMPLE YE ARE (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

Now THE BODY is not for fornication, but FOR THE LORD; and THE LORD FOR THE BODY. And God hath both RAISED UP THE LORD, AND WILL ALSO RAISE UP US BY HIS OWN POWER. Know ye not that YOUR BODIES ARE MEMBERS OF CHRIST? shall I then take THE MEMBERS OF CHRIST, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST which is in you, which ye have of God, and YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God IN YOUR BODY, AND IN YOUR SPIRIT, WHICH ARE GOD’S (1 Corinthians 6:13 b-20).

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath THE TEMPLE OF GOD with idols? for YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you (2 Corinthians 4:14).

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive) YOUR MORTAL BODIES by his Spirit that dwelleth in you ( Romans 8:11).

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY (Romans 8:23).

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were SEALED WITH THAT HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE, Which is THE EARNEST OF OUR INHERITANCE UNTIL THE REDEMPTION OF THE PURCHASED POSSESSION, unto the praise of his glory.

NOTATION: The purchased possession is a reference to the redemption of our bodies. Remember 2 Corinthians 6:20 says: “For ye are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: therefore glorify God IN YOUR BODY, and in your spirit, WHICH ARE GOD’S (1 Corinthians 6; 14-20). Our bodies belong to God as much as our spirit does.

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Philippians 3:20-21).

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul AND BODY be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Thessalonians 5:23) .

FORGIVENESS AND THE WRATH OF GOD

Imagine the godliness person you can think of. You would probably describe them as loving, or kind, or patient. You probably wouldn’t describe them as wrathful or angry. Yet, if you really spent a lot of time with them you’d probably see them get angry at some point, especially at injustice.

So it is with God. Love, mercy, grace, kindness, patience and all the wonderful expressions of His goodness is His fundamental disposition. Yet He does get angry when there is an unrepentant love for sin in rebellion against the truth, or worship of false gods, etc. To imply that God is half loving and half wrathful as some do is very misleading.

It is very important to understand that reconciliation and forgiveness throughout scripture is never the result of God satisfying his wrath. Reconciliation and forgiveness is the result of God’s mercy and when God demonstrates his mercy He turns away from his wrath. Psalms 85:1-4 says the following:

Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. THOU HAST TAKEN AWAY ALL THY WRATH: Thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.

One of the many problems with the substitutional-appeasement view of the cross is that it is sets forth a very un-Bibilical view of the wrath of God. The wrath of God is a Bible truth and one that we should take very seriously but one we must also understand correctly.

The Bible reveals that there are specific things which cause the wrath of God to come and the Bible reveals that there are specific things which cause the wrath of God to be turned away.

Those things which cause the wrath of God to come can be attributed to the actions of those who opposed Christ and put him to death. Yet those things which turn away the wrath of God can be seen in the person and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the scriptures, the wrath of God comes because of such things as unbelief, rebellion, loving sin, rejecting the truth, worshipping false gods, and forgetting God. On the other hand, the wrath of God is turned away by things such as obedience, intercession, atonement, zeal for righteousness, the fear of the Lord, and repentance.


BIBLICAL REASONS THE WRATH OF GOD COMES

  • UNBELIEF (John 3:36; Hebrews 3:7-19; Deuteronomy 9-11; Psalm 78:17-33).
  • REBELLION (Hebrews 3:7-19; Romans 1:18-32; 2:5,8; Leviticus 10; Numbers 11:32-34; Deuteronomy 9-11; Psalm 78:17-33; Joshua 22:20; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; 1 Samuel 28:18; Kings 22:13-17).
  • LOVING SIN (John 3:17-21; Romans 1:18-32; 2 Peter 2:15; Numbers 11:32-34; Psalm 78:17-33; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6).
  • REJECTING THE TRUTH (Romans 1:18-32; 2:5, 8; Deuteronomy 10; Numbers 11:32-34; Psalm 78:17-33).
  • WORSHIPPING FALSE GODS (Romans 1:18-32; Deuteronomy 29; Numbers 11:32-34; Psalm 78:17-33; Kings 22:13-17; Kings 23:1-27).
  • FORGETTING GOD (Deuteronomy 6:10-15; 8:10-20; Romans 1:18-32).

BIBLICAL REASONS THE WRATH OF GOD IS TURNED AWAY

  • OBEDIENCE (Deuteronomy 10-11).
  • INTERCESSION (Isaiah 53, Exodus 32:7-14, Numbers 21:5-9; John 3:14-17; Deuteronomy 9).
  • ATONEMENT (Romans 3:25; 5:6-11; Numbers 16:46; Numbers 18:1-5; Numbers 25:11).
  • ZEAL FOR GOD (Numbers 25).
  • THE FEAR OF THE LORD (Jeremiah 32:40).
  • REPENTANCE (Acts 13:39-41; Kings 22:18-20; Kings 23:1-27).

THE LANGUAGE OF SCRIPTURE

Simply, there is no – out in the open – language in the New Testament that clearly tells us that God poured out His wrath on Jesus.

There is no place in the New Testament where any of the writers explicitly says: “God poured out His wrath on Jesus,” or “God satisfied His anger when Jesus died on the cross.” It simply isn’t there. Yet, there is an abundance of scripture in the New Testament which reveals – out in the open – that God’s disposition in giving His Son was love, mercy, grace, and kindness.


CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another ( 1 John 4:9-11, see also verses 12-21).

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16).

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (Romans 5:6-11).

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:4-8).


Listed below are many verses which tell us – out in the open – that Jesus’ death was the result of God’s love, mercy and grace.

John 4:9-11, 1 John 3:16, John 3:14-17, Romans 5:6-11, Romans 8:32-39, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, Ephesians 1:3-9, Ephesians 2:1-8, Ephesians 4:32-5:1-2, Ephesians 5:25, 1 Timothy 1:9-16, Titus 3:4-7, Revelation 1:5, Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7, Luke 1:50; 54, Luke 1:67-80, Romans 11:25-36, Romans 15:1-12, Hebrews 2:9,17, Hebrews 8:12, 1 Peter 1:2-3, 8-13, 1 Peter 2:3-10, Acts 15:11, Acts 20:24, Acts 20:32, Romans 3:21-26, Romans 4:3-5, Romans 4:16, Romans 5:1-2, Romans 5:15-21, Romans 6:1-23, Galatians 1:6-9.

ATONEMENT

Throughout the Old Testament the word atonement was used to convey the idea of reconciliation, sanctification, consecration, and forgiveness.

On the Day of Atonement, not only was atonement made for the sins of the people but atonement was also made for the Priesthood and for the golden altar of incense and for the Holy of Holies and for the entire tabernacle.

  • Atonement for the people (Leviticus 16:5, 7, 15, 33
  • Atonement for the Priesthood (Leviticus 16:3,6,11-14, 33)
  • Atonement for the Golden Altar (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16:18, 19, 20, 33)
  • Atonement for the Holy of Holies (Leviticus 16:16, 17, 20, 33)
  • Atonement for the entire Tabernacle (Leviticus 16: 16, 20, 33)

Atonement was made for these to sanctify them and to consecrate them to God and to make reconciliation so God’s presence could dwell in the midst of His people in the Tabernacle.

Much of Hebrews 9 and10 is written with the Day of Atonement in view. By drawing attention to the contrast between the temporary and eternal, these chapters show how Jesus fulfilled the things foreshadowed in the Day of Atonement.

  • The eternal value of the work of Christ is compared to temporary service which was only a foreshadowing of Christ (Hebrews 9:7-12).
  • Cleansing for the conscience by the blood of Christ is compared with outward ritual cleansing in the flesh (Hebrews 9:12-12; 10:1-22).
  • Jesus our Great High priest is compared with the fading ministry of the high priest and priests under the law (Hebrews 9:7-12; 21-24; 19-22).

Whereas the Passover was symbolic of Christ as the Lamb of God and His death on the cross, the Day Atonement was symbolic of the entrance by Christ as our High Priest into the presence of God. The entrance of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies was representative of what Christ would do to bring us near to God (Hebrews 9:8-14; 23-28; 10:19 -22).

The Mercy seat was “the place of atonement” and specifically speaking, the Mercy Seat is where the shed blood was sprinkled in the presence of God for atonement. This made reconciliation for the sins of the people and sanctified all the dedicated things, purifying them from the sins of the people.

  • By virtue of His own blood, Jesus entered into the very presence of God for us to consecrate the new and living way to God.
  • The new and living way is through a pure conscience that has been purified by the Blood of Jesus through the Spirit of God. (Hebrews 9:12-14; 10:19-22)
  • The blood of animals could not please God because the blood of animals had now power to cleanse our conscience from sin (Hebrews 9:9; 10:1-4).
  • The Blood of Jesus pleases God because His blood cleanses our conscience from sin (Hebrews 7:11,12,19; Hebrews 9:7, 12-14, 22; Hebrews 10:1,2,10,14,17-19,22; Hebrews 12:24).

Throughout the Old Testament, atonement never foreshadowed appeasement or any act whereby God would demonstrate His wrath towards Christ as a substitute. Christ died as a sacrifice who gave himself as a sweet savor offering to God for us.

  • Throughout the Old Testament scriptures, the offerings which were offered to God were to be a sweet fragrance to be accepted by Him. Never were the offerings “rejected by God” to make atonement.
  • They were to be offered as a sweet smelling fragrance to be accepted by Him. When the offerings were rejected by God there was no atonement.
  • There is no precedence in scripture that suggest that God turned His back on Jesus and rejected Him in our place. On the contrary, God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus as a sweet aroma on our behalf when He gave Himself as the offering and sacrifice for our sins, and for His sake (alone) God has forgiven us (see Ephesians 4:32-5:2).
  • God specifically said through Moses that when His anger was against His people, He would not accept the sweet fragrance from their sacrifices and offerings.
  • God’s wrath and His acceptance of the sweet savor offerings never mix throughout the scriptures.
  • The atonement sacrifices throughout the Old Testament, which foreshadowed Christ, were never condemned or rejected by God. There is not one example of God “rejecting” or “condemning” any atonement sacrifice so that the people could receive forgiveness. The sacrifices made atonement (forgiveness and reconciliation) because they were accepted by God.

The O.T. sacrifices had to be perfect, unblemished and without spot, and they were accepted by God rather than condemned by Him. They were accepted as a sweet savor and this is how atonement was made. There are many examples throughout the Old Testament of God accepting the sacrifices as a sweet fragrance.

  • Jesus was accepted by God for us, not condemned by Him in our place. He is our atoning sacrifice, not our guilty substitute.
  • When God’s wrath was revealed, He would not accept the Sweet Savor of the offerings (Leviticus 26:31, Jeremiah 14:11-12). Yet, when God’s people returned to him in repentance, God accepted both them and the Sweet Savor of their sacrifice and offerings (Ezekiel 20:40-41).
  • The sacrifices were not substitutions which were rejected by God in place of the people. The sacrifices were holy offerings which were “accepted” on behalf of the people (Lev 22:20, 21, 25, 27). By virtue of these offerings, the people were sanctified and made holy in the sight of the Lord.
  • Ephesians 1:6 tells us “we have been accepted in the beloved” and Colossians 1:20-22 teaches tells us Jesus reconciled us through the Blood of His cross to present us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his (God’s) sight.
  • Again, the sacrifices were never condemned substitutes. They were accepted offerings which sanctified the people and made them holy.

The Mercy seat bears its name because of the display of God’s mercy that was demonstrated by the annual sprinkling of the sacrificial blood. It was the only seat within the tabernacle and represented the throne of God in the midst of His people. It was to be approached only on the Day of Atonement by the High Priest but not without the atoning blood. The Day of Atonement was the one day of the year that Israel’s’ faith was actively focused on the Most Holy place. It was the one day of the year that what had happened at the altar of sacrifice had to be trusted by faith as being complete and secured within the Holy of Holies. By faith they trusted the High Priest to carry out His intercessory ministry in the presence of God and that atonement had been made upon the Mercy Seat. So it is with us. We look to Jesus the one who died on the cross and rose again and we trust, by faith, that in the presence of God He lives for us to make intercession whereby He is able to save us completely and by His own Blood keeping us in right standing with God.

HATED WITHOUT A CAUSE

When Jesus was alone with his disciples just prior to his trial and crucifixion, he addressed the hatred of the religious Jews and their leaders who were against Him.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because THEY KNOW NOT HIM THAT SENT ME.  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me HATETH MY FATHER ALSO.  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: BUT NOW HAVE THEY BOTH SEEN AND HATED BOTH ME AND MY FATHER. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE (John 15:18-25).

Jesus tells his disciples that they too would be rejected by the world because the world had first rejected Him.

In John 8:23 Jesus had referred to the religious Jews – those who opposed Him – as “worldly.” “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of THIS WORLD; I am not of this world.”

The rejection that Jesus endured from men, which ultimately resulted in His death, was the people’s rejection of God who had sent him. Jesus interprets the scripture, “they hated me without a cause” as hatred aimed at both he and his Father, God.

This is consistent with the words prayed by the church in Acts 4:

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD, AND HIS CHRIST. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were GATHERED TOGETHER, For TO DO whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done (Acts 4:25-28).

These words in Acts 4 are taken from Psalm 2.

The prophet Isaiah said, “He is despised and REJECTED OF MEN; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: YET WE ESTEEMED HIM STRICKEN, SMITTTEN OF GOD, AND AFFLICTED (Isaiah 53:3-4).

The phrase “we esteemed Him smitten of God and afflicted” is contextually a reference to the perception and not the reality for it was sinful men and not God who unjustly condemned Jesus and who wounded Him.

The wounds which scared His back were caused by men. The nails which pierced His hands and feet came from the condemnation of men. The crown of thorns was placed there by men. It was men who hanged Him on the tree.

For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, THEY HAVE FULFILLED THEM IN CONDEMNING HIM. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And WHEN THEY HAD FULFILLED ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN OF HIM, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD… (Acts 13:27-30).

The predetermined counsel of God was that Jesus die for our sins and this was fulfilled by what actually happened at the cross when Jesus died at the hands of sinful men.

Romans 15:3 says, “Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”

Jesus was God in the flesh dying for His people. The reproaches of the people towards God; their hatred and rebellion against God were levied against Jesus and in that place he responded with forgiveness.

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).

The author of Hebrews tells us to keep “looking to Jesus who ENDURED SUCH OPPOSITION FROM MEN, DESPISING THE SHAME, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (see Hebrews 12:2).

The shame Jesus endured was humiliation which came from men who hated and opposed God. The son of God was placed on public display in the most humiliating fashion wherein He was mocked and ridiculed by those who despised both He and His and Father; God.

Christ did not die under the judgment of God, nor did He suffer under the wrath of God. Jesus suffered under the unjust condemnation and wrath from men who hated Him without a cause.


ADDITIONAL NOTES

Immediately following His words in John 15:18-25 Jesus says the following:

“But I will send you the Advocate —the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry (John 15:18-27).

The world hates Jesus and the world hates God who sent Him. The world will therefore hate us who belong to Him because their opposition to God. When Jesus departed and returned to the Father He did not abandon His followers as orphans. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower them in a world opposed to God.

The promised Holy Spirit gives us the power to bear witness of the truth in Jesus Christ in the midst of a very dark world. We are called to be salt and light so that the Holy Spirit may bring conviction upon sinners and draw men unto repentance.